N. Cowichan considering easing bylaw on firearms

Allowing farmers to use fire arms on agricultural lands to control ‘invasive animals.’

North Cowichan Council has asked for a report from staff about the possibility of allowing farmers to use fire arms on agricultural lands to control ‘invasive animals.’

The request came to council from the Agricultural Advisory Committee, which is chaired by Coun. Maeve Maguire.

Council directed staff at its Wednesday, Dec. 2 meeting to report back on “possible amendments to the Firearms Bylaw, to allow farmers the right to discharge a firearm on their private agricultural lands to protect their crops from invasive animals.”

Maguire said bear, elk and deer were talked about during committee discussion, and she said the intent is not to ‘destroy’ the animals. “They do understand that it’s a very sensitive issue,” she said.

Under Bylaw 3077 a firearm includes: “a device that propels a projectile by means of an explosion, compressed gas or spring, and includes a rifle, shotgun, handgun, air gun, air rifle, air pistol, or spring gun.”

It’s not clear if the requested bylaw change was to be with respect to single projectile type weapons, like rifles, which are mostly prohibited; or if the report will focus on shotguns, which can already be discharged in some areas of North Cowichan.

Presently, the discharge of rifles in North Cowichan is only allowed on the Chemainus Rod & Gun Club rifle range.